Kenny Dalglish is ready to test Aston Villa over their resolve to keep Stewart Downing, with an improved bid of £18 million for the star, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Liverpool reportedly had a £15 million bid turned down for the star, and Aston Villa are very hopeful of keeping Downing at Villa Park.

"He had a magnificent season last year and really came to full maturity as a top player," Alex McLeish said.


"I understand why there are teams interested in him and that is what happens when you play well consistently.

''His performances last season were top drawer. That's why he's not for sale. I spoke to him briefly last week and I intend speaking to him again when all the lads are back in for training."

But Downing reportedly has his ‘heart set’ on a move to Liverpool, and will consider handing in a transfer request if talks with McLeish break down.

Liverpool have lost out to rivals Manchester United on two big England international signings this summer, with Ashley Young and Phil Jones both choosing a move to Old Trafford, and Dalglish is reportedly determined to make sure he gets Downing to Merseyside.

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